Billie's Horse Tales

Updated: Jul 1

For recent articles and photos by Friends of the Mustangs member Billie Hutchings, go to ​www.wildhorsefever.wordpress.com Horses of the Little Book Cliffs



The following articles were written in 2017.


Band of the month by Billie Hutchings Brumby (8 – bay stallion), Mystery Paint (21 – bay paint), Destiny (4 – sorrel paint) and Aussie (2016 chestnut colt) are a beautiful band that lives in the Indian Park area. Actually, they are a bit naughty and have managed to keep themselves off the range. I guess you could say he is pretty smart to do that because he has no competition out there! You can certainly tell too. They are probably the fattest horses on the range!! During the 2013 gather, they were moved to the North Soda area in hopes that they would stay there and not get off the range again. Within just a few days, however, Brumby had led his band back over to Indian Park and off the range again. Mystery Paint is a very wise lead mare and is not fond of people, so she tries to keep the band away. Destiny is Mystery Paint’s granddaughter and has a blue eye. We only have a few horses that have a blue eye or eyes, so she is a rarity. She is not as shy as Mystery Paint.

Aussie is a stout little 2016 colt. Let’s hope he makes it back onto the range when he comes of age. Brumby’s name was suggested by a visitor from Australia who was here to see how horses were managed in the US as they were trying to get a program started there. She was very excited to hear that her name suggestion was chosen. Brumby, Mystery Paint, Destiny,Aussie Aussie, Mystery Paint:


Aussie, Mystery Paint:



I thought it would be nice to write about each band on our range. I will start in the lower canyons because those are the horses we can access now. First up is Snoopy Jr. (11). He is one halfof the Blues Brothers. He and his brother Gideon usedto share a band before they both decided to part ways and have their own band. These two bands still swap mares back and forth. CURRENTLY, and this could already have changed, he has Fish(22), Dun Deal (3), Willow(6), Ute(2) and Yuma(6). SnoopyJr.’s age is only an approximate as he was not discovered until he was a young bachelor. He was first discovered in Main Canyon with his brother Gideon. We had no clue who he was, but because of his color we assumed he was an offspring of Snoopy. He became a band stallion in 2009 when he Gideon were sharing the mare Jaggs along with her offspring, Rimrock. They parted ways within a yearor so and became band stallions of their own mares. Jaggs still goes back and forth between the two stallions. Fish is an older black/brown mare easily recognized by her fish- shaped star .While it looks like Fish has appy spot on her rump, that is actually from scarring. Dun Deal is a young dun mare just coming into her prime. The chestnut mare, Willow was a very wild mare that lived between Indian Park and Monument Rock. She wound up with Nitro and somehow wound up in the lower canyons where Snoopy Jr. picked her up. The bay filly, Ute is Willow’s daughter and came along with Willow. Yuma, a chestnut mare, is another Monument Rock horse that found her way to the lower canyons and has been with Snoopy Jr. almost the entire time she has been away from her family band. Yuma:


Dun Deal:


Fish:



Snoopy Jr.:



Ute:


Willow:


Inca and Medicine Bow – By Billie Hutchings This time of year it is difficult to determine bands. Some of the stallions, and the mares, get restless and there seems to be a bit of shuffling. So, let me tell you about two bands that are switching back and forth at the present time. Inca and Medicine Bow are two of the lower canyon horses and they are passing Miracle and Eclipse back and forth. Inca has been without mares for quite a while due to a bad injury. It looks as if he tumbled down the side of the mountain. There were scrapes all over his body!! But, being the tough mustang he is, he has healed and is now looking to establish a band. Well, along comes Medicine Bow who is relatively young and has two mares. Inca steals the mares and Medicine Bow dogs the band until he can steal them back, then Inca dogs the band until he can steal them back, then MedicineBow…..well you get the picture. Inca is a 12 year old black stallion and Medicine Bow is a 7 year old paint stallion. The two mares are mother and daughter. Miracle is 6 and Eclipse is 2, and both are black, although Eclipse is beginning to look more brown than black. We will see what color she decides to be. Who knows what the final outcome of this duel will be. Maybe they will become co-band leaders or maybe one of them will eventually triumph. No doubt they will both wind up with at least one mare of their own soon. Below are photos of these horses. The photos of the two stallions are older photos, but it shows their markings better. Eclipse- Photoby Marty Felix:


Inca:

Medicine Bow:

Miracle:



Band of the Month by Billie Hutchings Let me introduce you to Sid (he is 17) and his ladies. Now Sid is one of those stallions that keeps his band hidden. He usually lives in the area between Indian Park and Monument Rock in the summer and he can be found on the Carpenter Trail in the winter. If you see his band once a year you are very lucky…..two or more times and that is divine intervention! He currently has three mares, Ashes is 15, Ragtail’s Mare is 17 and Sioux is 5. Ashes is a gray mare that looks white now. She is a wise old lead mare and knows when to move the band along and keep them out of harm's way. Ragtail’s Mare is a beautiful dark bay and Sioux is a sorrel paint. I was privileged to see them the other day and it is always a thrill to watch them. There were other bands in the field that day and it was fun to watch the interaction. Even though all the horses were curious about one another, and at times it looked like all the bands were mixed together, Sid kept his girls just slightly apart from the rest. He is such a good band stallion. Maybe that is why he has kept these three mares for so long and does not seem to have as many battle scars as some of the others do. So, just know that if you see this band you are very lucky and privileged. You can see by the photos below how tight knit they are and how close they stay to one another.

Sid’s band in 2015 :


Sid’s band this year (2017):



Band of the month by Billie Hutchings This month we will look at Rojito’s band. Rojito is a nine (9) year old gray stallion. His current band consists of Margarita and her 2016 foal, Patrón. Margarita is an eight (8) year old light chestnut sabino mare that was born in Wyoming and transplanted to this range in 2014. Patrón was born on this range and his sire is not Rojito, but is one of the stallions from this range. That makes Patrón the first foal born from this most recent group of transplants and a LBC stallion! The interesting thing about Rojito is that he had a bit of a rough start. He was born in November of 2007 to Rojo and Little Joe. The next spring he was discovered with only Little Joe, Rojo had died sometime during the winter or spring. He was an orphan. He stayed with his sire or other bachelors for a few months, then was mostly seen alone. As he got a bit older he did find a few bachelor buddies, but mostly stayed to himself until he finally got a mare of his own. Rojito was born a nice, rich sorrel color and looked a lot like his dam, but rapidly began turning gray. When he was little, he was really kind of ugly!! But, it didn’t take him long to shed out into a reddish gray color and now he is almost white and looks like his sire. You can no longer see his big star and right rear sock, they have all blended into the gray. Rojo and Rojito – November 2007:



Rojito - April 2008:

Rojito - June 2008:


Rojito and Little Joe - July 2009:


Rojito, Margarita and Patrón–June 2016:



Band of the month by Billie Hutchings Crockett is one of the Monument Rock bands that are so hard to find and photograph. Lucky for me, he decided to bring his band to Round Mountain for the late summer into fall. I found them on the back of Round Mountain the other day. This band consists of Crockett, the band stallion who is a five year old Chestnut stallion, Sahara – a four year old varnish roan appy mare, her 2016 chestnut filly, Phoenix and a satellite or lieutenant stallion, Waco, also a chestnut and a five year old. The last few years this band seems to live in Monument Rock during the spring and summer, Round Mountain during the late summer and fall and Upper Coal Canyon in the winter. This band is a little different because they have a satellite stallion with them. A satellite stallion is a stallion that stays with the group, helps to defend the mares and foals, but is not usually allowed to breed the mares. There are only a couple bands on this range that have this arrangement. Sometimes the satellite stallion stays with the band for many years and other times they branch off on their own within a year or two, usually taking a mare from the band they were with. Last year this band had another mare and two more stallions, but one of the stallions took the other mare and the other stallion went off on his own without a mare.

This is a typical Monument Rock band that is very alert and wary. They are not easy to approach and the stallion will snort, prance, blow and get between you and his band and does not usually stick around for very long. When I was with them the other day, Crockett and Sahara put Phoenix between them as if to shield her from danger (me) and Waco came up to stand with them. I love to watch wild horse behavior. Sahara, Phoenix, Crockett:

Waco:




Band of the month by Billie Hutchings Mocha (12 – varnish roan appy) was born in the Monument Rock area and later migrated to Indian Park where he has stayed. He picked up his first mares when he was five. They were Phantom’s mares and Phantom had just recently died. Chrome (16- sorrel paint) was one of those mares and she did not like Mocha at all. She kicked him, bit him and tried to run him off. When that didn’t work, she left on her own to find a stallion more to her liking. She went through several stallions before she eventually came back to Mocha as his only mare and she brought along her yearling (at the time) colt, Quincy (2 – sorrel paint). Mocha had also gone through several different mares before he and Chrome settled into a band. They all seem quite content at this point. They really seem to like the back side of Big Ed’s Field. In fact, the field he likes now bears his name! Rarely are other horses seen there, he seems to have moved in and taken over. The first time I saw Mocha, he was a yearling and still living with his natal band. He was a pretty sorrel appy with a blanket! Then, in 2006 Jim Dollerschell found a horse in Main Canyon that he could not identify. He sent a photo to Marty and me and we finally figured out that it was Mocha, but he had changed color! He went from being a sorrel appy with a blanket to a varnish roan appy. Lucky for us he had such a distinctive star and that is how we were able to make the ID! Somewhere along the way Mocha lost his left eye. Cindy and Bill Loos pointed it out to me and I looked at photos from 2009 and saw that he was missing his eye then. So, we have no clue when or how he lost it, but it does not slow him down at all. It is even hard to notice that the eye is missing. He even blinks that eye! Mocha, Chrome, Quincy :


Mocha as a foal:



Band of the month by Billie Hutchings


Traveler’s band consists of Traveler, the band stallion who is an eight year old sorrel appy with a blanket, Misty, his 6 year old sorrel lead mare, Tacoma, Misty’s yearling sorrel filly, Raven, seventeen year old black mare, Cinnamon, a two year old bay stallion and Toby, an eight year old bay stallion who acts as a satellite or lieutenant stallion.


Traveler is a horse that has certainly lived up to his name. He was born in Upper Coal Canyon, visited lower Coal Canyon, Main Canyon, traveled through Monument Rock to Indian Park, Low Gap and Round Mountain and then on over into North Soda and back! He picked up his first mare in North Soda and she remains his lead mare. Misty almost wasn’t his lead mare any longer as she was removed in the 2013 gather, but returned to the range for genetic purposes. They released her near Traveler and she was able to rejoin him. She has since produced a sorrel filly to complete the family.


Tacoma is Misty’s yearling filly and Traveler is most likely the sire, but it could also be Toby since both stallions are in the band. She is a pretty little sorrel and will be a great lead mare when she grows up.


Somewhere along the way he acquired Raven, a mare that had outlived her previous stallion and was looking for a new band. Traveler accepted her into his band and she remains there.


Cinnamon lost his mother when he was several months old. He stayed with the band stallion for a while, but the band stallion went off in search of mares and left Cinnamon on his own. He found some bachelors and stayed with them fora few months, but that didn’t work out either. He eventually ended up with Traveler who seemed to accept him into the band without problem. Raven took over and has “mothered” him since.


Toby is a beautiful bay paint. He seems to like hanging around this band and Traveler usually doesn’t have a problem with it. Toby acts as a satellite or lieutenant stallion and helps keep the band together. Sometimes, Toby and Traveler have “words”, but Toby doesn’t stray off too far and Traveler accepts him back into the band.


Cinnamon, Tacoma, Raven, Misty, Traveler, Toby on the left; Traveler on the right:

Traveler and Toby:



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